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3rd Period Outburst Lifts Habs to Victory:
November 24th, 2009 Player Grades

Montreal 5, Columbus 3. 
Marc-André Bergeron scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Montreal
Canadiens tallied 3 3rd period goals to steal victory from the clutches of the
Columbus Blue Jackets.  Mike Cammalleri, Glen Metropolit and Maxim Lapierre
scored the other goals for Montreal, while Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty
both had 2 assists.  Carey Price made 33 saves, some of them of the
spectacular variety, keeping his team in the game as they struggled early on. 
The Montreal powerplay went 0 for 3 with the man advantage while their
penalty-killing sputtered at 50% efficiency.  Montreal faces Sidney Crosby
and the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night.





Price is in a groove and it’s
great to see.  At no point did he give up on his team, making save
after save after his team left him defenseless.  He instead rose to the
occasion, and kept the Habs in the game until they provided him with some
offensive support.  It’s not every day that a goalie lets in 3 goals
and is the first star, but it was unquestionably so tonight.  I loved
seeing the fire in his eyes when he saved his team’s collective asses for
the umpteenth time.  That fire inspired his teammates to start playing
A- Cammalleri played his usual solid
game, creating multiple chances, most of the time against Columbus’ best
defense.  It’s so nice to have a reliable goal-scorer, and it’s
commendable that he hasn’t wilted under the tremendous pressure in Montreal
and in spite of the injuries.  He led all forwards with 5 shots on goal
and finished +2.
A Plekanec has 2
assists on the night, and was his usual dependable self, creating chances,
killing penalties and working as hard as anyone.
Andrei Kostitsyn B+ Andrei continues to improve and
might have had a goal if he’d had more luck.  His puck-handling created
many chances, as did his physical presence.  It’s nice to see him
shooting more; the goals will come.
B+ Patches
finished with 2 assists, and created many scoring chances with his speed and
size.  He still makes a few rookie mistakes, but he is learning.
Glen Metropolit B Metro missed his man on the 1st
goal, but redeemed himself with a crucial tying goal.  He played his
usual gritty game.
Travis Moen B- His selfish
penalty cost the Habs a goal, but fortunately not the game.  Still,
Moen is a supposed leader on this team, and needs to lead better by example. 
Then again… this is what Moen does.  The only forward at a minus 1,
but led all Habs with 4 hits.
Tom Pyatt
Pyatt hustled all game and was a
+1 on the night.  His speed is an asset as it created several scoring
chances and aided in breaking up a few Columbus plays.  He may need to
sharpen his skates, as he seems to fall down at the oddest times.

A- How much will
Lapierre benefit from Latendresse being traded?  Well, if tonight is
any indication, the answer is "lots".  Playing with a fire reminiscent
of last season, Lapierre was winning battles on the boards, creating rushes
and scored a crucial insurance goal.  His game got better as the game
progressed, particularly when paired with Sergei Kostitsyn.
Ryan White B- White struggled early on in the
game, over-handling the puck, and was responsible for some bad defensive
coverage.  Nevertheless, he got his act together and contributed on the
game-winning goal.  +1 on the night.

Sergei Kostitsyn
B+ It looks like
Sergei would prefer remaining in the NHL.  Despite only playing 9
minutes, most of that on the 4th line, Sergei demonstrated that the Habs
could benefit from his talent.  Particularly effective when paired with
Lapierre, improving shift-by-shift, Sergei created many chances and was
responsible in all areas of the ice.  He finished with an assist, +2
and hopefully has matured a bit…  The Habs are going to need him.
NA With only 3:53 of ice-time, I
couldn’t give Chipchura a fair rating.  Of note, he did go 75% on
faceoffs.  Is he gone when Pouliot heals up?

J.T. Wyman
NA Apparently when
I blinked, it accounted for all of Wyman’s 4:21 of ice-time.

A- Hamrlik was his
usual stabilizing presence on the blue-line, despite playing without his
usual partner.  He did a great job containing Rick Nash, and
contributed well offensively.  He led all Habs with 4 blocked shots. 
1 assist and +1.
B+ Gorges’ penalty cost the Habs a
goal, but he led all Habs with 22:21 of ice-time and finished a +3 on the
night.  Nice to see that he can adopt a larger role when necessary. 
Gorges was especially punishing along the boards tonight.
Paul Mara B It was a rough
night for Mara, first facing off against Nash all night, and then taking a
hard shot to the throat.  Nevertheless, he didn’t look lost on the top
pairing, and played a physical game against Columbus’ best.  He quietly
remains one of Gainey’s best acquisitions.
M-A Bergeron A- Bergeron played one of his best
games as a Canadien, and tallied 2 goals, firing a team-high 8 shots on net. 
His puck movement was better than usual, but I will add that he was
EXTREMELY fortunate that no one of his high-risk passes through the slots
were picked off by Columbus.  He played with great confidence, and that
is when he is his most effective, and made many clever pinches to help with
the offensive pressure.
Jay Leach B I barely
noticed him, which meant he was doing his job.  Quietly reliable in his
own zone, Leach finished +1 on the night
Ryan O’Byrne B+ Gone is the fumbling lummox from
last year… O’Byrne 2.0 was solid, physical and a stabilizing presence in
his own zone.  He finished a +2 and foiled many a Columbus forecheck.

D It’s not
surprising that the PP is struggling, considering the absence of Andrei
Markov, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Jaroslav Spacek.  0 for 3, but
there were periods of sustained offense.  More practice sessions (or
perhaps opportunities) are needed.

C 2 for 4. 
Columbus employs a fierce PP, and Montreal was burned twice. 
Nevertheless, in-game adjustments were made, and the PK gained steam as the
game progressed, at precisely the right moment.


This article was written by Matt
, who is ecstatic to finally grade a Montreal win.